Business

Workers love the 4-day week. A pilot program found the bosses liked it too

The four-day work week is… work.

That’s the message emerging from closely watched companies transitioning to the four-day workweek in pilot programs run by the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global. A survey on Tuesday found that 78% of leaders at more than 70 companies in the UK who have switched to a four-day schedule say their transition has been smooth or “seamless”. Only 2% found it a challenge. Most (88%) say the four-day schedule is working well.

The idea of ​​a four-day workweek is no joke. California legislators was recently considered, and then postponed, to plan a statewide four-day workweek for some employees. A survey of Gartner Inc. found a shorter week to be a favored recruitment and retention strategy.

Six-month pilot programs with more than 180 companies are currently underway in more than half a dozen countries. Employers often switch to a four-day, 32-hour schedule (with variations depending on role and industry) without a pay cut. In UK pilot, executives at companies with a total of 3,300 employees were surveyed midway through. The program is operated in conjunction with Campaign of the week 4 days and thought tank Autonomyalong with a data collection collaboration by researchers at Boston College, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.

Nearly all participating UK organizations (86%) said they are likely to keep the schedule four days after pilots finish in November. Nearly half, 49%, say capacity yield has improved, while 46% say it remains stable.

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see that,” said Joe O’Connor, chief executive officer of 4 Day Week Global, who has been looking forward to organizations. will show more stable output. “We would consider it a huge productivity hit if productivity stays the same.”

Pilot studies are continuing in the UK, US, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and Canada.

Not all of the organizations that started the tests, O’Connor said, completed them. About one in five employers quit, more than half in the pre-planning phase. Executives who have conducted pilot studies say they face the dual challenge of exceeding employee and industry five-day targets along with the daunting task of eliminating workflow improvement. to achieve the same output in four days.

When companies give up in the planning stage, “The main reason is that leadership overthinks and becomes cold,” says O’Connor. “They start trying to fix any issues or problems that might come up before actually running the test, which is not possible, because much of the productivity gains and process improvements are due to the teams building and lead.”

He also reported difficulties among companies with a culture of lack of trust between leadership and employees.

“They think they have an open, bottom-up decision-making style, but in reality, that may not be the case,” he said.

Growing pain is part of this process.

Nicci Russell, CEO of Following the water, a non-profit organization focused on reducing water consumption. “We all have to work – things like annual leave can make things more difficult. But the whole team is pretty happy and we all certainly enjoyed the extra days there. office.”

After a four-day schedule, companies experiencing difficulties are often very small and in sectors that require five or seven-day shifts that require precise scheduling of a small number of employees. Gift company Bookishlyfor example, keep looking for personnel during busy times.

Organizations also abandon scheduled efforts that are cut short when faced with unexpected changes, such as new leadership or financial changes. UK trial participants cover sectors, such as education, media, hospitality and healthcare, and include Charity banksupply chain transparency company Everledgercustomer communication platform Secure Digital Exchangeand Royal Society of Biology.

O’Connor has learned that when companies don’t need him anymore, things work out just fine.

“They really needed us in the early stages,” he said. “When the need to contact us decreases, it means they are well on their way to doing this work.”

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